Leon "Lee" Falk, 87, the creator of the comic strips "Mandrake the Magician" and "The Phantom," died Saturday in New York. Mr. Falk was a college student when he conceived "Mandrake the Magician," which illustrated a hypnotist who used his powers to fight crime. The strip, which first appeared in 1934 and has been drawn by Fred Fredericks since 1965, is syndicated in 125 newspapers.
In 1936, Mr. Falk developed "The Phantom," which follows the exploits of a costumed superhero. The strip runs in more than 500 newspapers and spawned a 1996 live-action feature film starring Billy Zane.
Kirk Alyn, 88, a dancer who followed friend Red Skelton to Hollywood and became film's first Superman, died after a long illness Sunday in a hospital near his home in The Woodlands, Texas, just north of Houston, friends and family said.
Superman, the comic book hero born in the Depression, had captured the imagination of a generation of children in print and on radio when Mr. Alyn agreed to play the part in 1948. He was 37 when he starred as the Man of Steel in two pictures for Columbia Films: "Superman" in 1948 and in "Atom Man vs. Superman" in 1950. Each film was done in a 15-part serial format.
Isidore de Souza, 65, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Cotonou, Benin, and a key figure in the west African country's transition to de@@hyphen@@mocracy, died Saturday of a heart attack in Cotonou.
Commodore William E. Warwick, 86, a grizzled Cunard mariner who became first master of the last great ocean liner, died on Feb. 27 in England. He had commanded the Queen Elizabeth 2 on her maiden voyage 30 years ago.
Pub Date: 3/16/99